Ready for some great recommendations?

A few weeks ago we began reaching out to our community to compile book suggestions for our Summer Reading List. We invite people to contribute to this list because we strongly value learning and sharing within our community, and a reading list is a fantastic opportunity to expose each other to new ideas, cultures, and authors!

This year, we very quickly realized that many of us also had some podcasts and documentaries that we thought would resonate with our community. So we have now dubbed this post our ‘Summer Learning list’ to be more inclusive of the different media recommendations we received. You will also notice that there is a strong Cambodia focus this year, as we received some great recommendations from our partner organizations there. We hope you enjoy the selections!

We would love to start with a book written by our own community member!

Shiprock Baby
by Bruce Logan

Bruce’s novel was published just in time (May 5th) for our article! The book follows the story of a privileged women’s search for her birth parents and how her volunteer job with a women’s advocacy group on the Navajo reservation casts her into the midst of the egregious problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Bruce’s work addresses key issues regarding missing indigenous women and girls. The intent, according to Bruce, is to “shine a light on this social problem through the medium of fiction.”

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online shopping sites. While you are checking out Shiprock Baby we would also encourage you to check out Bruce’s other amazing works!

Sounds True: Insight at the Edge Podcast

by Tami Simon

In Tami’s podcast, she interviews spiritual teachers, visionary writers, and “living luminaries” about their newest work and current challenges—the growing edge of their inner inquiry and outer contribution to the world. The podcast was amazing, thought provoking, and helps the listener explore both their inner worlds and their outer desire to contribute/connect. Recommended by our Co-founder, Lydia Dean who shared that every time she listens to the podcasts she thinks about how much the GoPhil community would enjoy listening too!

Listen to Sounds True: Insight at the Edge here:

Guide to Becoming a 21st Century Teacher

Recommended by Konthea Mean, the director of our partner JWOC, who found the book to be particularly helpful for her own learning as she worked to improve her skills as a teacher. She believes it is a must read for anyone looking for teaching training resources to brush up on their skills and/or put better teaching practices in place.

The best part is it is available for free! You can assess and download the book here.

An Idiot’s Guide to Saving the World Podcast

by globalgoals

Emily Bild, our Director of Programs, started listening to this series and is hooked! All the episodes are based around the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) and bring in experts to talk about progress towards reaching these goals and what we can do as individuals to contribute. She shared, “I found the Food episode particularly powerful – and loved learning about efforts to bring indigenous knowledge into sustainable food production. Great, easy and inspiring listens for when you’re on the move or pottering about at home!”

Listen to An Idiot’s Guide to Saving the World here:

Breaking Green Ceilings Podcast

Our Communications Specialist, Kathryn, recommends this phenomenal podcast focused on the marginalized voices in sustainability. Breaking Green Ceilings spotlights passionate environmentalists we do not hear from enough including those from underrepresented groups – Disabled, Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous. The podcast has many discussions on our opportunities for individual and collective impact, while also serving as an important reminder to not discount or forget about many different and unique contributions that individuals from different backgrounds have to offer.

Listen to Breaking Green Ceilings Podcast here:

TED Radio Hour on NPR Podcast

Recommended by Ariel Tudela from our partner JWOC, TED Radio Hour compiles inspiring and thought provoking TED Talks to dive deep into various topics bringing many different perspectives during each one hour segment. Ariel has found that listening to the podcast provides him a great opportunity to learn and be exposed to diverse individuals.

Listen to TED Radio Hour on NPR here:

Anakut Cambodia News Podcast

Ariel also has another great suggestion for our community! The Anakut Cambodia News Podcast offers a deep insight to Cambodia’s history as well as contemporary issues in Cambodia. He found the 15 episode podcast series to provide information in a very compelling and eye opening way, showing listeners around the world that there are so many meaningful stories and developments from Cambodia.

Listen to Anakut Cambodia News here:

The Complete Stories
by Flanders O’Conner

The Complete Stories is a collection of short stories by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux published in 1971. The collection includes all of the stories in their beautiful works, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge, plus several previously unavailable stories. This fantastic recommendation was provided to us by Jeanie Mamula, our Board Secretary.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online shopping sites.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong

The debut novel of Ocean Vuong, an Vietnamese-American poet, is written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. “The letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation” ( We thank our Founder’s Circle member, Judy Frant for this awesome pick!

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online shopping sites.

by Anthony Veasna So

Judy Frant provided us another great recommendation with Afterparties. This book also covers the Southeast Asian inter-generational immigrant experience in the United States through “an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.”

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online shopping sites.

“The Donut King” Documentary
Directed by Alice Gu

This documentary follows the story of Ted Ngoy (born Bun Tek Ngoy; 1942), who is a Cambodian American entrepreneur and former owner of a chain of doughnut shops in California. He is nicknamed the “Donut King.” Cutely dubbed “immigrant story with a glazed twist” you can follow the success, trials, and tribulations of this unique and compelling individual.

You can watch or purchase The Donut King on several online platforms including Hulu Plus and iTunes.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol Dweck

“After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.” (Google Books). Sotheareak, from our partner Free to Shine, recommends this book wholeheartedly as he found it helped him to feel more encouraged and confident in his work as he continues to work on his skills development.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online shopping sites.

A Proper Woman: The Story of One Woman’s Struggle to Live Her Dreams
By Thavry Thon

Thavry, who is a symbol of female empowerment and strength for millions in Cambodia, shares her story with her soul baring novel. The story focuses on her journey as a young Cambodian woman challenging her country’s social and cultural norms throughout her life with the unintended consequence of becoming an ambassador for female empowerment. Fiona Cameron, from our partner Free to Shine, sent us this brilliant and not to be missed recommendation.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online shopping sites.

Diving Deep, Going Far: Stories of the Women Leaders Forming Cambodia’s Future
by Menno DeBlock

Thanks to Fiona Cameron, from Free to Shine, we have a fantastic final recommendation! Diving Deep, Going Far by DeBlock is a ‘reality novel’ about a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia, and is based on interviews with over 25 young Cambodian women condensed into this novel that tells the story of four Khmer women. At Free to Shine, the students and team love this book because there are so many things the reader can learn from the many successful women presented in the novel.

Available in English on Amazon.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this year’s Summer Learning List.

If you would like even more recommendations for this summer make sure to check out our Summer Reading Lists from 2021 and 2020!


Some recommendations mention Amazon and other online book stores. However, we encourage you to also support your local bookstore or black-owned bookstores where available.

If you do decide to purchase from Amazon, please consider making your purchase from Amazon Smile and selecting GoPhilanthropic as your charity of choice!